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40 Under 40 - Class of 2019
Business Observer Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019 7 months ago

Dr. Sarah Eccles-Brown, 37

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Ophthalmologist and partner, Elmquist Eye Group
by: Jay Schlichter Lee-Collier Editor

Sarah Eccles-Brown originally pictured herself as an astronaut and the president of the U.S.

But during her senior year of high school, she was required to do a community project to graduate. Her guidance counselor mentioned recently having LASIK surgery and talked about how great it was to see clearly without glasses.

Eccles-Brown was intrigued. She took it as an opportunity to learn about the field, interviewing opthalmologists and patients who had surgery to correct their vision. “I saw how impacted they were, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” she says.

Today, the married mother of three boys is an ophthalmologist and partner at Elmquist Eye Group in Fort Myers, where she was appointed as lead surgeon in 2018. 

After deciding she wanted to be a doctor, Eccles-Brown also considered going into neurology, which she thinks is ironic because that is what her husband does. The two of them met while enrolled at Florida State University. Before moving to Fort Myers three years ago, Eccles-Brown was an officer in the U.S. Air Force for eight years, where she served at Lackland and Eglin Air Force bases.

Her advice for others is to find a career in something you love to do while making sure you follow the five A’s: availability, affability, ability, affordability and accountability.

“I’m fortunate in that I love what I do,” she says. “People are trusting you with their eyesight. My goal is to be the best, to be excellent at what I do so that people can ideally have a good experience and get great results.”

And while politics and space travel are likely out, one of Eccles-Brown's top goals now is to one day do medical missionary work with her family’s church or with organizations like Doctors Without Borders. 

Name: Sarah Eccles-Brown

Age: 37

City of residence: Fort Myers

Employer: Elmquist Eye Group

Title: Board-certified comprehensive ophthalmologist and partner

Birthplace: Augusta, GA

Years on the Gulf Coast: Three

Marital status/children: Married with three young boys, 5-year-old twins and a 3-year-old

Alma mater/degree: Florida State University: Bachelor of Science in biological science and Bachelor of Science in psychology; New York Medical College: doctorate in medicine

Where is the best place to network? Lee County Medical Society events

What's the best business lesson you've ever learned? My colleague and mentor Trevor Elmquist taught me about the five A’s soon after joining the practice: availability, affability, ability, affordability and accountability. Each of these is important, and I have internalized the importance of these traits along with many other lessons learned along the way. Having colleagues you can lean on and trust is also invaluable.

What's your top tip for being productive? Know your job so well that you can focus on the task at hand while subconsciously preparing for the next step. It is also helpful to create protocols for each scenario. This improves workflow for yourself and your team, taking the guesswork out of what is expected. 

What's the weirdest job you've ever had? In undergrad, I was part of a neuroscience research project investigating activity-based anorexia in a rat model. Every day I essentially gave a group of rats a Pap smear to determine their stage in the estrous cycle.

What community group or organization are you most involved with? Locally, Riverside Church and Lee County Medical Society. I am also a long-term member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and am a proud veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? I would love to work at Chanel to get a discount.

What's your favorite off-hours activity? Spending time with my family at the beach. Getting a massage, yoga, running and riding my Peloton are way up there as well.

What's your favorite board game or video game? I like the board games my kids like; right now it is CandyLand.

What's the top item on your bucket list? I would love to visit every continent and all 50 states. My husband and I have always wanted to become involved with medical mission work abroad and would like to make it an annual event as we progress in our careers. 

Where is your happy place? The beach is always my happy place, followed closely by outdoor trail runs with good weather and basking in the glory of nature.

What's your favorite podcast? I love listening to music and more recently audiobooks in the car; however, I enjoy the podcasts "Hidden Brain" by NPR and "Brains On!" science podcast for kids.

Who/what is your favorite musical artist/band? It’s so hard to pick just one! Dido has been a long-time favorite.

Who would play you in a movie about your life? Jennifer Garner

What was your first album/tape cassette/CD? Probably any Amy Grant cassette tape

What was your first concert? U2 at Madison Square Garden with my big sister

What's one song that will get you out on the dance floor? “Yeah!” by Usher

What's your favorite karaoke song? “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor

What instrument/role would you play in a band? Depending on the type of band, either the singer or a French horn player.

Please describe yourself in three words. Kind, hard-working and precise

 

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